No. 18614, ‘B’ Company, 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles
Killed in action on Saturday 1 July 1916 (aged 21)
No known grave
Thiepval Memorial, France (Pier and Face 15 A and 15 B)
Comber and District War Memorial (as Corporal)
Second Comber Presbyterian Church
James Patterson was born on 13 October 1894 in the townland of Ballyrush, Ballygowan and he was the eldest son of Samuel Kerr Patterson and Mary Jane Patterson (nee Magee) who were married on 18 June 1891 in Gilnahirk Presbyterian Church.
The Patterson family lived in the townland of Ballyrush, Ballygowan and at Hill Head, Ballygowan.
Samuel Kerr Patterson was a farmer and he and Mary Jane had at least ten children:
Mary Kerr (born 2 November 1892)
James (born 13 October 1894 in Ballyrush)
William John Magee (born 31 August 1896)
David Taylor (born 19 June 1898)
Samuel Kerr (born 26 May 1900)
Robert (born 24 July 1902; died of ‘shock from burns accidentally received’ 26 November 1908 aged 6)
Andrew Magee (born 1 July 1904)
Maud (born 30 March 1906)
Margaret Kerr (born 22 August 1909)
Eleanor Shaw (born 20 November 1913)
After leaving school James Patterson lived in Newtownards and he worked as an apprentice in the hardware trade. He was employed by Messrs Riddels Ltd, Donegall Place, Belfast. He enlisted in Comber, served with the 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles in 108th Brigade of the 36th (Ulster) Division and was killed in action on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Initially he was posted as wounded and missing in action and in August 1916 it was officially confirmed by the War Office that he must be presumed to have been killed in action.
James Patterson’s Colonel wrote a letter of sympathy to James’s father and, in the letter, he outlined the circumstances of James’s death. James was in command of the Lewis Gun team attached to ‘B’ Company when it advanced towards the German trenches. Only three men of the team returned (generally there were five men in a team) and all were wounded. Earlier James Patterson had been recommended for a commission and he was scheduled to go to a School for Cadets in October 1916.
Lance Corporal James Patterson was 21 when he died and he has no known grave. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial in France; on Comber and District War Memorial (as Corporal) and in Second Comber Presbyterian Church.
Lance Corporal James Patterson’s father, Samuel Kerr Patterson, died in Ards Hospital on 27 May 1935.